“The strong partnership shown between all the Sea Tow operations in clarifying information and in assisting each other to get help underway was critical,” Capt. Willis said. “This was a great opportunity for all partners to work together and keep a watchful eye over each other while working offshore to retrieve the vessel in distress.”
Capt. Hughes of Sea Tow Ocean Isle plotted the sailboat’s initial coordinates, Sea Tow Wrightsville Beach provided Capt. Hughes with a mate to join him for the more than 40-mile run in zero-visibility conditions.
“All the franchises worked a part of this rescue mission,” Capt. Willis said. “Could Sea Tow Ocean Isle have done this alone? Yes, of course. Was the outcome much better with all of us working as a team? Yes!”
With the Sea Tow franchises and the Coast Guard monitoring the operation from shore, Capt. Hughes located S/V Jenny O in the heavy fog and successfully took the sailboat in tow. But, the rescue operation wasn’t over yet. Sea Tow Ocean Isle’s Capt. Hughes had to maneuver around numerous ferries and other boats while coming back to shore in the fog. He and his mate depended on AIS, electronic navigation and the other Sea Tow locations working with them on the radio for help in making their way to port with the disabled sailboat in tow. The Sea Tow group also was able to assist with securing dockage for S/V Jenny O at South Harbor Marina in Cape Fear, North Carolina, and by sending a diesel mechanic out to meet her. The entire roundtrip was 88 miles, all in limited or no visibility.
The mechanic fixed the sailboat’s engines and she was able to leave the dock the very next morning, headed to Charleston, S.C. S/V Jenny O’s skipper was highly impressed and appreciative of the smooth transition and tow-in. And although not a member at the time of the incident, he is now and will likely be for as long as he has a boat, or is on the water.
“The Captains and the Sea Tow families worked together to truly take care of those we serve,” Capt. Willis said.